Mum’s Baba Ganoush (Lebanese Moutabal)
Baba Ganoush, possibly second to Humus, is by far one of the most famous and eminent dishes of Lebanese cuisine. It is particularly known as part of several maqabalat, Arabic for Meze.
In Arabic, no one uses the word Meze and Lebanese daily life lunch & dinner doesn’t have Maqabalat as a very common part. It is rather served in restaurants and especially to tourists for obvious reasons and includes dishes like Humus, Baba Ganoush, fresh Lebanese olives, Muhammara (a red pepper dip), Fattoush (salad with toasted breadcrumbs), sometimes even Falafel and Samboussek (filled dumplings). It is usually only a starter preceding the main dish and is shared between everyone on the table.
You see, Baba Ganoush or Moutabal*, never comes alone and you will have already tried it at your first visit to a Lebanese restaurant as a starter with other magabalat or as a side dish with your Shawarma** or one of many Lebanese stews depending on what amazing Lebanese dish you chose from the menu. There are indeed no mistakes.
In case this doesn’t apply to you and you are completely new to this chapter of culinary, I welcome you. There is no going back after this.
I’ll be honest (and yes, you can hate me for that), but I was never the Humus-kind-of-guy. I am on the Moutabal-Squad, and yes, I even enjoy it as a main dish without any Humus stealing the show. I will forever associate it with my dear mother from whom I have not only inherited the favouritism of Moutabal over Humus, but also possibly the talent for cooking and of course this approach of preparing this amazing dip.
I hope I was able to give you some insight. And keep in mind, there is no unwritten law on the definitions of Baba Ghanoush/Moutabal. This recipe is the minimalist elegant approach to get the most out of the fine taste of baked aubergines transformed into a Tahina-mixed paste and it’s one of the most authentic (Lebanese) recipes Manakish can offer.
*Moutabal and Baba Ganoush are practically the same, but Baba Ganoush is the more famous name, Moutabal is a minimalistic version of it. Baba Ganoush is often served additionally with Yoghurt, Vegetables and olives. I am sticking to a more minimalistic version of the recipe adding only Pomegrenade seeds and fresh Parsley.
**Shawarma is the Lebanese version of a Turkish Kebab, but still very differently served. Another time, another post.
Mum's Baba Ganoush (Lebanese Moutabal)
This recipe for Baba Ganoush serves 2 people and keeps well in the fridge for about a week. It goes well with white bread and best be served with some olive oil on top.
- 2 Aubergines
- 5 tbsp Tahina Sesame Paste
- 3/4 Garlic Clove
- 1/2 Lemon
Preparing the Aubergines
Prepare the needed ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius with circulating air. Put both aubergines into the oven on a baking tray.
Take out the Aubergines as soon as they are soft. It can take up to 45 minutes depending on your oven and the aubergines themselves. Check from time to time, by cutting them open and see if they are also soft in the inner layers.
As soon as they are soft enough and baked well, take them out and let them cool down until it's the temperature is low enough to touch them.
Peel off the the crunchy skin. Don't take off too much pulp. Take a spoon and slice off any pulp on the removed skin.
Mixing the ingredients
Put the pulp into a bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon until you have a paste.
Use a garlic press to crush the garlic. Add the garlic, five tablespoons of Sesame paste and some salt. Squeeze out some of the Lemon halve's juice.
Mix well. Keep mixing until the sticky sesame paste is mixed well with the pulp.
Put the paste on a small plate. Form a small crater in the middle of the paste. Add some olive oil and garnish with parsley and pomegrenade seeds. Serve with Lebanese bread.
- Use Lebanese Tahina (Sesame paste), preferably from Al Wadi or Al Nakhil
- The time for baking the aubergines can differ, but expect it to take around 30-45 minutes.
- Baba Ghanoush and Lebanese are practically the same, but most recipes use additional herbs, vegetables, olives. This recipe is a minimalistic essential version of it and very authentic.